WPL 2024: ‘Renuka’s two wickets gave Gujarat shock they couldn’t recover from’, says Saba Karim

Bengaluru: Royal Challengers Bangalore’s fast-bowler Renuka Singh Thakur wreaked havoc with her spell of 2-14, giving Gujarat Giants a shock from which they could never recover from, believes former India men’s wicketkeeper-batter Saba Karim.

At the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Renuka dismissed Beth Mooney and Phoebe Litchfield by bowling from round the wicket angle. While Beth was castled through the gate, Phoebe was drawn out of the crease to drive off her and stumped easily.

“It was a fantastic display. This is exactly what RCB was looking for. Renuka Singh was excellent tonight. When she bowls to right-handers, her ball comes in. It’s a new skill she’s developed and worked hard towards being able to deliver balls like that.

“It’s not easy to add a new skill like that. She’s proving to be one of the main players for RCB. Her two wickets gave Gujarat Giants the shock they couldn’t recover from,” said Karim to JioCinema after the match ended.

Fittingly named Player of the Match, Renuka said she had been working hard to add new deliveries and angles to her repertoire. “Very happy, bowled such a spell after a long time, especially after (coming back from) injury. I have been doing a lot of hard work, hence I am happy because I am now getting the results.

“In India, (bowling) just one kind of delivery will not help. We need more variations, so I have worked with (fast-bowling coach) Troy Cooley quite a bit to add an away-swinger, reverse-swinger and slower balls. That’s specifically why I wanted to go to the NCA, to work more on them and fitness,” she said.

Another positive for RCB has been the form of India batter Meghana Sabbhineni, who has amassed 89 runs in two innings at a strike rate of 123.6 in WPL 2024 so far. Reema Malhotra, the former India women’s cricketer, lavished praise on Meghana’s good showings for RCB in the tournament.

“Players know when they’re in a good frame of mind. It reflects in their performance. In the first season, many players were nervous. She’s a regular performer for Railways. RCB picked her when she was in good form and was delivering on the pitch.

“When she’s playing on the off-side, she drives so firmly. I have captained against her and players have told me, ‘When Meghana is batting, don’t put me in the covers’. That’s the impact of a player,” said Reema.

Asked about her good form, Meghana attributed this to the confidence and role clarity she’s got from the RCB management. “I just wanted to take the confidence from the first game and play my natural game. Wanted to utilize the powerplay and it worked well for me. After Smriti got out, I just wanted to rotate strike and give more strike to Perry.”

“I just got the message to calm down, and just hit the ball if it was there to be hit. Otherwise just keep taking the singles. I have got a lot of support from Smriti and the team. That has given me so much confidence to play my natural game and to take time (at the start). Just trying to stay relaxed and hitting whatever is in my area,” said Meghana.


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